Endowments and international enrollments: How much does your university depend on foreign students? Explore our interactive graphic

Image by Sumanley xulx from Pixabay

The global flows of international students confer enormous benefits on the countries which receive their talent: more diverse campuses, richer learning experiences for domestic students, more impactful research and much more.  In the context of the United States and COVID-19, Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), has reported on how the presence of international students and immigrants is helping the U.S. fight coronavirus.

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COVID-19 in Context: Only the Strong Survive?

Polar Bear
Image by 272447 from Pixabay


Last month, Moody’s released an investor update headlined,   “Universities with strongest brands, significant scale, highest debt levels best positioned for coronavirus challenges.”  While that may be true for the strongest universities, the increased demand for higher education that will inevitably follow the COVID-19 pandemic means that institutional relevance and the agility necessary to respond to shifting market dynamics will be just as important as scale of brand and strength of the balance sheet when it comes to survival.

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COVID-19 in context: What can we learn from previous shocks to tertiary mobility?

Image by Squirrel_photos from Pixabay

I was delighted to participate in a webinar hosted by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at University of California, Berkeley on May 7, exploring the extent to which COVID-19 will shape international student mobility.  The full seminar is available on YouTube, but I outline my thoughts on the ways in which the Asian financial crisis of 1997 might provide some insight into how sudden shocks can alter the trajectory of global student mobility below.

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Open Doors Report 2019: Things can only get better

To kick off International Education Week this past Monday, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released its 70th Open Doors Report outlining international student mobility trends in the United States during the 2018/19 academic year.  Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce commenced the release by lauding the nation’s status as the most popular study destination for international students, attracting more than one million international students for the fourth year in a row. 

The report also indicated that there was a decrease in the 6.6 percent declines in new international student enrollments (NSEs) in 2017/18 to 0.9 percent in 2018/19, evidence that suggests the two-year drop in international enrollments has stabilized.

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Do US Party Politics Matter to International Students?

Recently, some colleagues asked us whether there was any relationship between the political affiliation/control of states in the US and their success in attracting international students.  Armed with Gallup’s state political affiliation analysis, we had a look.

Gallup identifies five categories: Strong Republican, Lean Republican, Competitive, Strong Democratic and Lean Democratic.  Using those definitions we overlaid IPEDS data to identify the number of international students and the extent to which those enrollments have grown or declined between Fall 2015 and Fall 2017.[1]

In the maps below, the size of the bubble indicates the relative size of the international student population in the State and the color is aligned with Gallup’s definition of political affiliation.

So what are the findings?

  1. International students enroll everywhere but of the top ten most popular state destinations, six are either strong or lean Democratic,  three are designated as competitive (Texas, Ohio and Florida) and one, Indiana is designated as Lean Republican. This does not imply any particular political affiliation amongst students.   States with strong Democratic leanings are home to large urban centers with big concentrations of universities, including many of the Nation’s best known and highly ranked.  These large urban centers are also home to multiple language schools, large community colleges and generally offer strong employment opportunities.
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Global agent poll – a crystal ball for international education?

SEVIS, IIE, HESA, the OECD and Open Doors are useful tools for helping us understand the global distribution of students – and for establishing long term trends.  But they are not crystal balls.  INTO’s latest recruitment agent survey which polled more than 1800 counsellors across the world produces revealing insights into their assessment for future student enrollments in key destination countries. The survey, conducted in April 2019,  includes almost 500 responses from China, traditionally a blackspot for global polls of this nature – and making it the most authoritative China agent insight survey ever conducted.

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INTO Giving marks more than $1 million donated to education projects around the world

INTO Giving raising $1 million to help schoolchildren and their teachers was a gigantic feat. When we saw we’d reached that million-high orbit, a thrill raced through us. We knew we’d done something monumental.

That ‘we’. That ‘we’ is important.

We, in this case, means thousands of INTO students and graduates from across the world, thousands of INTO employees and faculty, INTO’s global network of agents, INTO University Partnerships and university partners, and INTO’s founder.

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An Existential Crisis – or Learning to Operate in a VUCA World?

“These are the times that try mens’ souls”

Latest SEVIS release confirms a decline in foreign enrollments in the United States

In 1998, the United States War College coined an acronym VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. It was designed as a conceptual model to help military officers understand the world – and has been popularized by the world’s leading Business Schools.

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